USAA Life Insurance Review 2023

Ben Moore
By Ben Moore 
Edited by Katia Iervasi

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USAA

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: USAA’s policy options and low complaint volume make it a good choice for many buyers, especially those on active duty.
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term, permanent & no-exam
insurance-product-card-logo
COMPARE QUOTES

on Policygenius

USAA

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: USAA’s policy options and low complaint volume make it a good choice for many buyers, especially those on active duty.

Financial strength rating

Exceptional

Online purchase

No

NAIC complaints

Fewer than expected

Policies offered

Term, permanent & no-exam

In our life insurance reviews, our editorial team considers the customer and the insurer. These are some of the factors we take into account:

Policies offered. There are many types of life insurance on the market, and they fall into three key categories:

  • Term life insurance offers temporary coverage and a guaranteed payout if the policyholder dies during the term.

  • Permanent life insurance typically lasts a lifetime and builds cash value that can be borrowed against in the future.

  • No-exam life insurance issues coverage without the need for a medical exam.

Financial strength. We use AM Best ratings to confirm an insurer’s long-term financial stability and ability to pay claims. For life insurance, NerdWallet typically recommends considering insurers with ratings of A- or higher. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Exceptional: A+, A++.

  • Strong: A-, A.

  • Moderate: B, B+.

Complaints. These ratings are based on complaints to state regulators relative to a company’s size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The best life insurance companies have fewer than the expected number of complaints.

Buy online. This indicates whether an insurer allows you to apply for and buy a policy completely online.

USAA's products are designed specifically for active military members, veterans and their families, but the company's life insurance policies are available to everyone. Most term and whole life policies are available nationwide. The company's universal life is not available in New York, and its guaranteed issue policy is not available in Montana.

Why you can trust NerdWallet: Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines to ensure the content on our site is accurate and fair so you can make financial decisions with confidence and choose the products that work best for you. Here is a list of our partners, and here’s how we make money.

USAA life insurance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

USAA earned 5 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account consumer experience, complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and financial strength ratings.

Based on these ratings, USAA is one of our best life insurance companies in 2023.

USAA life insurance policies

Term life insurance. USAA offers two types of term life insurance: Level Term and Essential Term.

  • USAA’s Level Term policy is available for 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years with coverage ranging from $100,000 to $10 million. Depending on the state, you may receive additional benefits, including:

    • Coverage while in war, which is often excluded from life insurance policies.

    • A $25,000 payment if you suffer a severe injury while on active duty, including paralysis, loss of vision or severe burns.

    • Guaranteed coverage after leaving the military.

    • An option to add $100,000 in coverage if you have a baby, get married or buy a house between the ages of 18 and 35.

    • The option to convert to a permanent policy.

    • The option to replace your service members’ group life insurance (SGLI) with a USAA term life policy if you leave the military.

  • USAA’s Essential Term policy does not require a medical exam. The policy is a type of annual renewable life insurance, which means you can renew it every year, but your premiums typically increase when you do. Coverage is available to consumers ages 21 to 35, and lasts until age 39. Although the policy does not require a medical exam, you may have to answer a few health-related questions to apply. Essential Term Life Insurance includes $100,000 of coverage and is not available in Arizona or New York.

USAA made our list of the best term life insurance of 2023.

Whole life insurance. Simplified whole life insurance policies are available for coverage limits up to $10 million. You have the option to make payments for 20 years, until age 65 or for the full duration of the policy. You can also increase coverage after certain life events, up to a total of six times, with a free life event option rider.

Universal life insurance. USAA’s universal life insurance policy comes with flexible payment options and a guaranteed interest rate of 1%. USAA also sells an indexed universal life insurance policy, which ties the cash value growth to a market index like the S&P 500.

Guaranteed issue life insurance. Policies are available to applicants 45 to 85 (50-75 in New York) in all states except Montana. These policies are issued by Mutual of Omaha and do not require a medical exam or health questionnaire to qualify for coverage. Face amounts range from $2,000 to $25,000. Guaranteed issue life insurance, often called final expense life insurance, can help cover burial or funeral costs.

USAA made our list for best no-medical exam life insurance of 2023.

Depending on your state, USAA may offer additional life insurance riders, including:

  • Child protection plan, which allows you to add all of your kids to your policy. Your children may have the option to convert it to their own policies when they’re older, regardless of their health.

  • Waiver of premium benefit, which waives your premium should you become disabled.

USAA also made our list for best senior life insurance of 2023.

USAA customer complaints and satisfaction

Over three years, USAA has drawn fewer than the expected number of complaints to state regulators for a company of its size, according to a NerdWallet analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Where USAA stands out

USAA’s website gives detailed information about all of its policies, laying out term lengths, coverage amounts, issue ages and more. You can get an online quote without entering your personal contact information, such as an email or phone number. And while the company offers specialized coverage for active duty and retired members of the armed forces, policies are also available to non-military personnel.

Where USAA falls short

Some of USAA’s policies are not available in Montana or New York.

More about USAA

You can get a quote and apply for a life insurance policy online, plus manage your account, from the USAA website and iPhone and Android mobile apps. USAA also has a survivors relations team that can assist families of deceased USAA members, including help with any survivor benefits.

Other USAA insurance products include:

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Life insurance buying guide

Before you start comparing companies, choose the type of life insurance you want, such as term or whole life. Decide which life insurance riders, if any, you want the policy to include. Calculate how much life insurance you need and how long you want the coverage to last. Check that the insurers you’re considering offer the coverage you’re looking for.

When comparing rates, be sure the quotes are for the same amount of coverage over the same period of time. It’s also important to make sure the policy’s medical requirements match your needs. For example, if you want to skip the life insurance medical exam but don’t mind answering health questions, confirm that the application process for each policy you're comparing aligns with that.

Price may not be the biggest driver behind your decision to buy. Look at the number of consumer complaints each company receives, as high numbers can be a red flag about the quality of service.

For more guidance, see our life insurance buying guide.

Life insurance ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s life insurance ratings are based on consumer experience, complaint index scores from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for individual life insurance, and weighted averages of financial strength ratings, which indicate a company’s ability to pay future claims. Within the consumer experience category, we consider ease of communication and website transparency, which looks at the depth of policy details available online. To calculate each insurer’s rating, we adjusted the scores to a curved 5-point scale.

These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

Insurer complaints methodology

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2019-2021. To assess how insurers compare to one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. NerdWallet conducts its data analysis and reaches conclusions independently and without the endorsement of the NAIC. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.

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